Target: Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Goal: Make Oregon standoff occupiers pay for damages they caused to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In early 2016, dozens of occupiers led an armed takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, protesting the government’s role in land management. Sixteen people have been indicted and face charges including conspiracy in Oregon, and some could also be charged for previous acts in Nevada. Lasting 41 days, the standoff resulted in one death, severe threats to the surrounding wildlife and costly damage to buildings and surrounding land.
Federal employees and biologists are beginning to return to their place of work after police officers combed the area for booby traps and other potential dangers after the standoff ended. But the office areas and surrounding land are nearly unusable. It is estimated that the occupiers cost the government over $6 million. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published photos of the damage, which includes piles of spoiled food, broken walls and fixtures, stolen equipment and trenches full of human feces. The refuge is said to officially reopen in summer 2016.
These damages show an obvious disrespect for wildlife and the people who work to protect Malheur. Taxpayers should not be responsible for cleaning up the horrific mess left by people who impeded important biological studies, and who endangered the safety of residents of the nearby town of Burns, Oregon.
Encourage Governor Kate Brown to hold those indicted financially responsible for the damages they created at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Dear Governor Brown,
The acts of Ammon Bundy and the other occupiers of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were inexcusable. So, too, is the damage they have left to buildings and surrounding land.
It is estimated that the occupation already has cost the government over $6 million. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has documented leftover rotten food and piles of trash and human waste that compromise the safety of federal employees and their ability to protect the surrounding flora and fauna. Leading up to the standoff, biologists were working on projects to better accommodate the rare bird populations found in Malheur by relocating the carp population. The scientists were unable to reach their work for months, and this disruption cost three years of valuable time in controlling the carp that infringe upon birds’ habitats.
The occupiers were careless in their actions, endangering the people of Burns, Ore., as well as the wildlife that call Malheur home. Their disrespect toward the natural world Oregonians enjoy and work so hard to protect should not go unnoticed. While they are going through the legal process in Oregon and Nevada, please hold those indicted financially responsible for the disaster they have created.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife